Friday, October 3, 2014

canterbury tale-esque narrative

Two weeks ago we began an exploration of story in a variety of media. Here is a recap of what we covered and a recipe for what to include in your narrative as we wrap up our study of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales.

On September 19 I asked you to review Jonathan Worth's phonar lecture for our discussion of how language and media have evolved and influenced the ways we think about and tell stories.  "Phonar" is short for "photography" and "narrative"-- as I mentioned the next day, our relationships with pictures and the stories of our lives have changed over the years.  Understanding how we once told the stories of our pictures (and how we've adapted so that our online pics tell the stories of us) can help us understand how authors like Chaucer felt about the limitations of language and the written word, and how they developed techniques to more effectively communicate their ideas.

In the two weeks since, we have combined a traditional reading-oriented study of Canterbury Tales with creative writing.  You should have summarized and analyzed at least one of Chaucer's tales and posted notes to your blog; this, along with Tuesday's lecture, should give you a solid foundation in understanding Chaucer's influences and strategies. Your practice with direct and indirect characterization, elements of the monomyth, and plot/tone will give you real-time experience to draw on as we go further in depth later in the semester.

Part of the reason for including Jonathan's lecture is that we will be collaborating with his photography students at (and Laura Ritchie's University of Chichester music students, and Mark Cabrinha's Cal Poly Architecture students, and others) to create multimedia narratives.  The first step in this process will be copying/pasting your narratives from your course blog to Coggle per Joey's invitation.

Here are the ingredients your narrative should include.  Please post to your course blog by Sunday (10.5) evening, and copy/paste to Coggle as soon as you receive the invitation.
  • Use at least two moments of direct characterization and two moments of indirect characterization to describe yourself as the fictional protagonist of this story.
  • The story itself is the story of your journey over the next year (this is part monomyth, part bildungsroman-- we'll be covering these in detail soon).  
  • Exposition: the time is one year from now.  The place is the university of your choice.  (Note: this was originally intended as a "visioning" exercise-- if, however, you find that you simply cannot tolerate any more reality intruding on your creativity, and you really want to write this as an an exercise in fantasy/escapism, please feel free to do so.)  Describe your journey to this moment as a fictional retrospective. 
  • The plot of your retrospective should include the following elements of the monomyth (a.k.a. the hero's journey).  The character has to be called to an adventure which s/he is not seeking.  The adventure must be thrilling/challenging but not necessarily desirable; 3. The character must prepare and leave home with what's on his/her back (which may include a bag of stuff); 4. The character's departure must be vividly described; and 5. The character must meet up with at least one other character from class and/or the characterization parody we watched in class.  Including a secondary character provides opportunity for interaction and dialogue.
  • You may of course include and practice other literary techniques.  When you copy/paste your narrative to Coggle, place it where you think it makes sense.  Early editors will probably create threads and categories, these may change over time as more is added.  This part of the process will make more sense when everyone begins posting.
Please feel free to comment or email with questions.  Looking forward to reading y/our story?

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